I got to Lancaster early this afternoon for the Wachovia Cycling Series - Lancaster Race. This is a 91 mile, 147 km race around this small city in Central Pennsylvania. The riders do 13 laps of 7 miles each, so the spectators get to see a lot of action compared to the stages of the recently completed Dodge Tour de Georgia.
This race is a lot smaller in scale than the other pro cycling races that I've been to in the United States. There is a media room here in the Hotel Brunswick where the post-race press conference will take place, but there is no Internet access there. The hotel apparently isn't WiFi enabled. There are two Ethernet connections available to the media in meeting rooms on the second floor of the hotel. I am sharing mine with a photographer from the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
It wouldn't take much to put WiFi in this place temporarily. That's pretty much all the media relations people from the Dodge Tour de Georgia did during their race:
- They found a building with broadband connectivity and a room where 30 or 40 people could sit in the town where each stage finished.
- They connected an inexpensive, pre-configured WiFi access point to an Ethernet connector.
- The media used their WiFi-enabled laptops to get on the Internet and post their stories.
My sense is that the Hotel Brunswick is the race headquarters in Lancaster because it's the only hotel downtown with meeting facilities. It isn't a convention-oriented hotel. We'll make do with what we have here and be thankful. It would be a lot harder to do post stories from my Treo 650.
This has been a great race for the spectators. Control of the race course near the start was minimal prior to the race. Fans could walk up and down the staging area and see the riders up close. You could talk to the riders who speak English, if you wanted. Most of the riders were quite approachable.
If you're in driving distance of Trenton and have time to come to the Wachovia Cycling Series- Trenton Race on Thursday afternoon, I'm sure the pre-race situation will be similar. When I was there in 2003, I rode my bike up and down through the staging area. At the time, I didn't really know how many riders from the European pro peloton were racing, otherwise I would have stopped and tried to talk to a couple of them.
I ran into Sammarye Lewis (aka Velogal) here at the starting line of the race. That's no surprise, she's here working for Threshold Sports, the race organizer. She's working an as official photographer, and she's got a lot better camera gear than I do, so I'll be sure to point to her photos when I find out where they will be posted.
Did I mention that the weather's beautiful today? It's 78 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. This is the closest thing to ideal cycling weather we've had in weeks in this part of the country.
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